RSD Barfly jacket: understated cool

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Ran into Roland Sands at Anaheim Supercross the other night and complemented him on the jacket he was wearing. It was simple, obviously well made, looked nicely broken in and had some very subtle design touches made from perforated panels. Turns out it’s his newest product, the RSD Barfly, and he’d just crash tested it, walking away without a scrape thanks to the proprietary Forcefield Armor.

The Barfly is constructed from the same 1.1-1.3mm, top grain cowhide leather and subjected to the same four-day hand waxing and dying process as the popular Ronin, but simplifies that model’s design even further.

It’s that quality that makes the RSD jackets stand out, but also the way in which each one breaks in and wears individually to form its own, unique patina. They look good on the rack, but spot one one someone who’s had it a few months and there’s so much texture and character its virtually unrecognizable as the stock jacket.

Elevating the Barfly above utter simplicity are those subtle perforations under the shoulders and on the sleeves. There’s no external logo with the exception of a small, black-on-black “Roland Sands” on the left sleeve. Classy.

Like other jackets in the RSD range, special-made, CE-approved, Forcefield armor can be purchased separately to fit the included pockets in the elbows, shoulders and back.

Clever touches come in the form of large, elasticated pockets inside the satin lining, large enough to hold a spare visor, baseball cap, gloves or assorted odds and ends like that. The cut and profile itself is inspired by vintage dirt track leather racing shirts. The Barfly is one of those jackets that’d be killer just wearing around off the bike, but will work well on it too.

  • Theodore P Smart

    I’m sure Wes’s jacket is coming via UPS….

    • Stephen Kellie

      jealous much or what? I have the ronin in brown and it is brilliant, cant see why HFL/Wes shouldn’t show new products and their opinions of them.

      On another topic – Wes how do you think the RSD armour goes in comparison to other branded armour (eg. D30)? worth picking up?

      • Wes Siler

        RSD armor is specifically designed to fit the pockets in RSD jackets and Forcefield makes great stuff, so I’d go with that. I don’t think Bio Armor would fit.

        • Stephen Kellie

          sweet thanks

      • Max Zuckerman

        I’ve got the Ronin jacket and seems like the elbow armor was sewn improperly… positions the D30 pads I bought at the elbow and then up towards my shoulder rather than down towards my wrist. Are you seeing that too? Is it just mine or am I doing something wrong? The store I bought it at agrees that the placement is a bit off… not sure buying RSD-specific armor would be any different, would it Wes?

        • unoakable

          Had the same problem. I bought the RSD armor for my Ronin jacket and the elbow armor was exactly how you described it. I returned the jacket but kept the armor for an older jacket. Just discovered this Knox Venture armored shirt though that could fix all that –

          Anyone have any experience with it?

          • Wes Siler

            Wearing armored shirts or rigs or whatever under jackets sorta spoils the convenience.

            All the RSD jackets I’ve seen people wearing don’t seem to have this armor location problem. Are you guys using the RSD armor or somethign aftermarket that may not be sized properly?

            • Max Zuckerman

              The salesman at the store had me place both the D30 armor and the RSD version (looks like T-Pro) on the floor. Then he asked me to punch each one. It was enough to convince me to use the D30 over the T-Pro version. It was slightly larger in the jacket, but worth it in my opinion.

              Long story short, I’m using aftermarket that actually feels properly sized, just not properly positioned in the elbow.

    • Wes Siler

      Nah, I prefer my Vanson.

      • Damo Von Maciel

        I am lucky enough to live about 30 minutes from the Vanson Factory in Massachusetts. They have arguably the best customer service on Earth. Plus my Vanson gear is creeping up on 10 years old and still looks awesome. Anyone in the North East should make the trip down to check them out. (Living close by also nets some great deals when they have factory close-outs)

  • Martin

    I had a Mission jacket and returned it because it was coming unstitched in 3 spots after 1 month of wear, Would not have trusted it in a crash, very weak seams so was surprised to hear about the quality being good on his other jackets. It looked good from a distance but was not well made at all, Indonesia needs better quality control methinks

  • Bigeauz

    Love the jacket, nice and simple. My only problem with RSD jackets is that they’re priced at boutique/luxury levels. $500+ (with the armor) is a really major purchase for me, and I can’t even see it before I buy it. That, coupled with the odd story from here and there about less-than-expected quality, make me cautious about an actual purchase. But I love the look and wish Mr. Sands well. Hope he keeps cranking stuff out.

    • sean macdonald

      My roomate has one and I have seen a few others out in the wild and I can tell you that RSD jackets are my absolute favorite (in the genre of being on the bike/off the bike jacket).
      if that is the sort of thing you are looking for, it’s definitely worth finding one to look at in person. order one from revzilla and risk spending a few bucks to send it back or find a store that carries them and see how it fits. yes, it’s expensive and a major purchase, but it should be and you’ll be rewarded for your investment long term.
      also, just keep in mind that these break in pretty heavily. my roomates has not had any quality issue, but looked a million times better than the new ones at IMC because it had that beautiful worn in look.

  • Ben Wipperman

    While I like the RSD jackets in person, but I’d definitely go the Wes route and get a Vanson instead. I don’t suppose you can go wrong either way.

  • Daniel Dominguez

    I love RSD jackets but living in Florida it just gets too hott to wear their jackets. Hopefully they come out with something stylish with a lot of air flow this year. Ill be sure to pick one up.